USA Bucket List – Unique Things to Do in America

Grand Canyon View From the South Rim USA Bucket List

There is so much to see in the United States that it can be hard to decide where to go next and what to choose. This USA bucket list has the most exciting and iconic places to visit and things to do in America. Whether this is your first trip to the US or if you are from the States, you will be able to experience the most amazing and unique things America has to offer. Some people say that the culture in the United States is very new and there are not as many unique things as there are in Europe, but it isn’t true. Each city has its history and culture and the best local cuisine that was formed by the history and the cultures immigrating to the region. Here are the top 20 things you must add to your American bucket list!

USA Bucket List – 20 Unique Places to Go and Things to Do in America

Watch a Broadway Show in New York City

When in New York, you should go to enjoy a Broadway show. You might not be able to get seats to the Hamilton, the new story of one of America’s founding fathers interpreted through hip-hop. However, there are still the classics and Broadway truly can’t be beaten. Some of my favorites – The Lion King, Les Miserables, and Wicked – the classics you shouldn’t miss on your trip to the Big Apple. For more information about available tickets, go here.

Feel the Mist of Niagara Falls

With so many things to do in Niagara Falls, planning ahead will help you ensure that you get to see everything on your list. You might want to consider the Niagara USA Discovery Pass, you’ll get a discount on admission to popular park attractions. The main attraction which has to be on your USA bucket list – more than six million feet of water cascading over a rocky crest is partially located in the United States and partially in Canada. This is a place you should experience at least once in your lifetime. But if you go once, you will probably come back again.

Gaze at the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Discovered in 1870, the Old Faithful geyser was named for its frequent eruptions, which is more than a million since it became the world’s first national park. Thermal features change constantly and Old Faithful may stop erupting someday. Old Faithful erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes. Its maximum height ranges from 90 to 184 feet. While it is not the biggest or the most regular geyser in Yellowstone, it is the biggest regular geyser. The view of the Old Faithful is truly amazing and Yellowstone should be in the top 5 of your American bucket list!

Visit the Alamo in San Antonio

San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in the United States with rich  and amazing history. No visit to San Antonio, Texas is complete without a tour of the Alamo, site of the most important battle for the Republic of Texas. Visit Alamo to understand early Texas history and battle for Texas independence as well as Spanish architecture and artifacts. After you are done there, check out the Riverwalk and eat at one of the many restaurants.

Related: Cheap US Airline Review for Your Bucket List

Attend the Mardi Gras Festival in New Orleans

Another city that has a very unique culture that you absolutely have to experience is New Orleans. The most exciting time to visit New Orleans is during the Carnival season and especially during the Mardi Gras Festival. But don’t worry if you go at other time, there’s always a party to be found in NOLA, from poky jazz bars to smoldering blues clubs. New Orleans is definitely a great place to add to your bucket list to get truly unique USA experiences. Read more about the oldest cities in the United States that have unique history and shaped the US in my blog post

Catch the Cubs game at Wrigley Field while taking down a Chicago-style hot dog

 the Bean or the Cloud Gate - USA Bucket List

If you are looking for uniquely American experiences, this is it. Even if you are not a baseball fan, at least once in your life you should experience this iconic place. It is synonymous with Chicago and a visit to the city would be incomplete, without a visit to Wrigley Field. Before the game, go see the reflection of the city in the Cloud Gate, or “the bean”.

Go skiing in Aspen Highlands, Colorado

Aspen Highlands features extreme Colorado steeps. Think you are really, really good? Then go where the locals go to get humbled – Aspen Highlands. Wide-open runs, breathtaking views, plenty of beginner and intermediate runs, and hike-accessible terrain that is some of the steepest in the state.

Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

The Mules Ascending from the bottom of the Grand Canyon USA Bucket List

Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is an amazing experience that is worth any USA bucket list. It does, however, require a good amount of physical training beforehand. The views are even more amazing from the bottom than they are from the top, and if you would like, you could take the mules up or down. And plan ahead, people reserve their lodging 6 months in advance.

Try some BBQ ribs in Kansas City, Missouri

When in Kansas City, you’ll be surrounded by some of the best barbecue joints in the country so why not try one.. Or two? Among my favorites – Jack Stack and Stack BBQ. And if you are in Kansas city, Check out their WWII museum – it is phenomenal.

Walk the Walk of Fame in LA

Los Angeles is a vibrant city, full of art, history, and nature. Of course, many people go to L.A. for the movie and television culture that the area is most famous for. If you are in L.A., don’t miss the seeing the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood and the Guinness World Records Museum.

Go Gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas Strip USA Bucket List

With a rich history of nearly a century of legalized gambling, Las Vegas is the mecca for casino players across the globe. The city contains more than 75 casinos, with most concentrated on Las Vegas Boulevard – more commonly known as the Strip. The Bellagio, the Caesars Palace, the Venetian – visit all of these when you are in Las Vegas.

Attend the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock desert, Nevada

This year the Burning Man will take place from 26th of August to September 3rd. Participants join in the effort to co-create Black Rock City, a temporary town in the middle of the desert dedicated to art and community. There you will find art installations, themed camps, music and a giant burning man at the end of the festival.

Watch the fish fly at Pike Place Market and leave your “mark” on the Gum Wall in Seattle

Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is known for their tradition of fishmongers throwing fish that customers have purchased, before they are wrapped. And, of course, the gum wall, it’s gross, but a must-see if you are in Seattle.

Spend a day wandering in NYC

Times Square in NYC USA Bucket List

Visit the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park and the Twin Towers Memorial. I actually did all of these in one day last time I visited. Yes, that is a lot of walking but it is doable. And, it’s amazing! My favorite parts of NYC – busy streets of Lower Manhattan, hearing different languages everywhere you go and NY-style pizza. It almost doesn’t feel like you are in the US, so you must go. When you are there, spend at least a day shopping in some of the most famous shopping areas in the US!

Get lost among giant sequoia trees in the Redwood National Park, California

Travel to Northern California’s stunning Redwood National Park and see the tallest trees in the world. Visitors can feel small as they stroll in the shadows of these enormous trees and explore rocky undeveloped beaches, fern studded canyons, open prairie and oak woodlands.

See “the Heads” in Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

See the Heads of Mt Rushmore USA Bucket List

South Dakota is home the Badlands and the Needles of the Black Hills, but nothing “stands out” quite like Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This project was created as a way to attract tourists to the state and, it worked! Mount Rushmore is now visited by nearly 3 million people annually!

Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and see Alcatraz in San Francisco, California

Rent a bike and pedal your way over the world’s most famous bridges! The Golden Gate bridge is one of the most famous and beautiful bridges in the world because of its spectacular location, graceful lines, details, and bright color. With towers extending 746 feet into the sky and over 100 feet beneath the bay, the bridge is an engineering marvel. There are so many other beautiful locations in San Francisco and every single one of them is worth going to, read here about cool places and neighborhoods to see in San Francisco

Dive into Puerto Rico’s Bio-luminescent Bay

If there’s one thing you can’t miss during your vacation in Puerto Rico, it’s experiencing the glowing lagoon while kayaking or snorkeling. The bioluminescent bay in La Parguera is a natural phenomenon unlike any other. Sometimes called the ‘phosphorescent bay’, it is home to year-round luminescence and is one of only seven of it’s kind in the world.

Experience Saint Louis like a Local

Saint Louis Arch USA Bucket List

See a Cardinals baseball game, visit the Budweiser brewery and eat at Pappy’s Smokehouse in Saint Louis. Experience your day as recommended by a Saint Louis Local and then go and take the picture with the Arch.

Watch the Northern Lights in Alaska

Last but not least on the the USA bucket list are the Northern Lights of Alaska. Northern Alaska is where many Americans head for the chance to see the northern lights. Spend some time above the Arctic Circle under the mysterious, eerie northern lights from mid-September to late April to witness the phenomenon of the aurora borealis.

USA Bucket List - Unique Places to Visit in America

Tell Me: How many of these have you done already and what’s next on your USA bucket list?

Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!

29 Comments

  1. Stephanie
    April 4, 2018

    I’m from Australia and haven’t been the US yet so this is a great list for me! Thanks

    Reply
    1. Marina
      April 15, 2018

      That’s so great! I hope you will find it useful when you come to visit!

      Reply
  2. Nadalie Bardo
    April 4, 2018

    These are all great places to travel and see. I would love to explore the majority of these places as well.

    Reply
  3. AmberLynn
    April 4, 2018

    I’ve visited five of the locations on the list and completed only three of the items. However, this reminds me that there is still so much for me to do and see right here in America.

    Reply
  4. Michelle
    April 4, 2018

    I think sometimes we get so caught up in international travel that we totally forget about the treasures that are here in America. When I went to San Francisco I was so amazed at this city that is right in my “backyard” per se that I had never thought to go to.

    Lovely list! x

    Michelle
    dressingwithstyle-s.com

    Reply
  5. Daria
    April 5, 2018

    I moved to California from Europe, so many things on my bucket list. Most curious about New Orleans.

    Reply
  6. Luci
    April 5, 2018

    The only thing that I have done on this list is go to a Mardi Gras Festive because I live in New Orleans. There are a lot of places that I want to go visit, South Dakota is one of them.

    Reply
  7. Haley
    April 5, 2018

    I’ve done 3!!! I want to do them all, you’ve made a great list!

    Reply
  8. Great list! I have only done 2 of these and I live in the US! I could for sure add some fun things to this list, like ice skating outside in downtown Detroit. Or check out Mammoth Caves in Kentucky 🙂

    Reply
    1. Marina
      April 15, 2018

      Oh yes, I have been to the Mammoth Cave! It’s definitely worth adding to this list!

      Reply
  9. Lindsay
    April 5, 2018

    Seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska and skiing/snowboarding in Colorado are two things I am DESPERATE to do. Love the balance of well-known and hidden-treasure-esque things to do 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  10. Davilyn
    April 5, 2018

    So many good ideas! I have some of those on my bucket list. ❤️

    Reply
  11. Kendra B
    April 5, 2018

    Great list! I love the unique ideas. I have only accomplished wandering around NYC, even though I have been to 5 of these cities!! Pinned for later! 🙂

    Kendra B.
    http://www.helga-marie.com

    Reply
    1. Marina
      April 15, 2018

      Thank you!

      Reply
  12. Vivian Evans
    April 5, 2018

    I’ve done only four of these. Ohh gee! I have more to go 😀

    Reply
  13. Jennifer
    April 5, 2018

    Awesome list! I have done 11 in some form, I will have to get on to finishing the rest!

    Reply
    1. Marina
      April 15, 2018

      That’s a lot! You are almost done! Then, it’s time to go abroad and see more if you ask me!

      Reply
  14. Megan
    April 5, 2018

    I’ve love seeing Broadway shows!! Of course, I don’t live in New York, but there’s a theater where I live and I’ve seen The Lion King (AMAZING) and Wicked (So good!). I actually did see Cinderella on Broadway in New York though and it was awesome. I also just visited Niagara Falls a few months ago and it was beautiful. Going to Alaska to see the northern lights is something that has been on my bucketlist for forever. I can’t wait until I get to go and hopefully that will be soon! Great post!

    Megan xx insidemegansmind.com

    Reply
    1. Marina
      April 15, 2018

      Wow! I actually haven’t been to the Niagara Falls yet, but I can’t wait to go!

      Reply
  15. Holli Shaw
    April 5, 2018

    A lot of these are def. on my list. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  16. Ingrid Joiya Warrick
    April 28, 2018

    Great list. Will start working on bucket list destinations next year. Anxious to look at these from the lens of a baby boomer.

    Reply
  17. Kailey Linton
    May 4, 2018

    This is a great bucket list! I would love to visit a lot of these places!

    Reply
  18. Kirsty
    May 21, 2018

    Yosemite is one of my favourite places on earth! I also love Arches and Bryce Canyon national parks. My next trip I plan to visit Badlands and some of the other remote quieter NPs. I really love USA! I try to visit at least every two years, I love to stop in small towns in between driving the parks on road trips. Also Zion NP is absolutely stunning … would love to hike through it one day.

    Reply
  19. Esmeralda
    September 7, 2018

    NYC is amazing, but can’t wait to go to Las Vegas

    Reply
  20. liam rocks
    September 19, 2018

    Thanks- for sharing the great post. The information is really noticeable especially info about Niagara Falls. I love to travel a lot, once again thanks a lot for sharing such a nice article, and please share another post very soon as I am waiting to read out another wonderful post so that I can update my travel list.

    Reply
  21. Jess
    October 4, 2018

    What a great list for people to use! Thanks for sharing:)

    Reply
  22. Alaina
    October 4, 2018

    Love it!! So many awesome recommendations:)

    Reply
  23. Kristen
    October 4, 2018

    There’s some great things on this list, I’ve been lucky to have checked off a few! Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is amazing, but I got to run across it during a marathon! Wrigley Stadium is my favorite ballpark of all the ones I’ve visited, definitely the ultimate place to catch a game. Most visitors to the Grand Canyon get the high up view, but I agree that the best way to experience this natural landmark is from below!

    Reply
  24. Lindsey
    October 4, 2018

    These seem like such fun and beautiful places to visit! I think I’ll be adding a few to my bucket list travels.

    Reply

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